Equity Crowdfunding: It’s Not Just For Startups

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Ever since the boom of Kickstarter, and the passing of the JOBS Act last April, crowdfunding has become part of the way to invest in startups. What started out as a funding portal for art projects, band albums, small businesses, and budding entrepreneurs, has now grown into a mature investment opportunity for businesses of all sizes.

There are currently two different methods of crowdfunding available through a number of platforms. Donation (or some refer to it as reward) crowdfunding is the better-known version, allowing project creators to accept monetary contributions in exchange for an incentive. This process can include small businesses, entrepreneurs, fund my life campaigns, and creative projects, all depending on which platform they are hosted on.

Check out this article for a comprehensive description of the donation process.

Equity crowdfunding is the opposite method, allowing companies to sell a percentage of ownership in their company to accredited investors (future regulations established by the Securities and Exchange Commission will allow non-accredited individuals to invest in private ventures in the near future). This method is reserved for incorporated companies that are looking to raise anywhere from $100,000-$5,000,000.

Project creators or entrepreneurs create donation crowdfunding campaigns for a multitude of reasons. While some of these businesses are looking for an injection of funds to keep their brand alive, there are many well-established companies who are utilizing this process for its marketing prowess.

Villy Custom Bicycles, a flourishing bespoke bike company funded on ABC’s Shark Tank by Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran, chose to run a campaign on RockThePost, the crowdfunding platform I co-founded. Not looking to raise funds,Villy Custom was more interested in testing the market for their upcoming line of glow in the dark bikes entitled “Reflecta-Glow.” After raising over $10,000 from a number of different contributors, they finally got the clear answer they had come for. People were interested in their product, and were willing to pay in advance.

This pre-approval service is great for companies that have an interesting concept, but are perhaps not willing to invest funds into production. By doing this, brands are able to fulfill delivery minimums before even committing to an order, and they are widening the net they are casting.

By showcasing new projects, they have the ability to tap into a wider pool of consumers, gaining brand awareness before they have even launched their new product.

Equity crowdfunding campaigns are naturally geared towards larger campaigns than donation crowdfunding, as all non-incorporated brands do not qualify. For these types of raises, the amount of money raised is fixed or set between a range (minimum and maximum).

While startup investing is undoubtedly a huge benefit, there are some additional perks that can help businesses of every size. By running an investment campaign, companies are highlighting their brand to masses of accredited investors. Investment crowdfunding platforms such as RockThePost curate thousands of these investors, so each featured brand is sure to dramatically increase their brand awareness, often to a highly targeted group of consumers. For some companies, this surge of users or brand equity can be more valuable than the funds themselves.

What began as an innovative fundraising option for small creative groups has now expanded into a game changing funding option for businesses of all sizes.

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